Ron Smith

Southwest Farm Press

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

La Niña fades, Southwest improves
Predictions of continued widespread drought into this summer may have missed the mark.
FDA warns food industry about losses if funding is not provided for food safety
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is warning the food industry that foodborne illnesses threaten their operations because the public reacts negatively to outbreaks of food-related health issues.
Farm bill and Brazil top NCC issues
Developing a farm bill that is timely and that preserves a farm safety net in a time of deficit reduction are the foremost challenges for new National Cotton Council chairman Chuck Coley.
Topguard exemption gives cotton new root rot control tool
When the news came down that the Environmental Protection Agency had granted Texas a Section 18 emergency exemption to use Topguard to control cotton root rot, no one was happier than San Angelo farmer John Wilde.
Cotton faces global stock growth, uncertain markets in 2012
As U.S. cotton farmers make plans for 2012, they face a significantly different set of economic factors than they did a year ago.
Seed companies release new 2012 cotton varieties
What's new in cotton varieties and technology for 2012. Farm Press has the latest information for you.
Irrigating cotton makes ‘cents’
Irrigating cotton makes sense and “cents,” says Amanda Smith, University of Georgia department of agricultural and applied economics in Tifton. Smith discussed the economics of irrigating cotton at the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Orlando, Fla. She said advantages include increased yield, reduced yield variability and improved profit potential.
La Niña to affect Cotton Belt in 2012

Add David Zierden, Florida State climatologist, to the list of weather experts predicting a continuation of La Niña and dry conditions through winter and at least into spring planting season across the U.S. Cotton Belt.

Zierden, who works from the Florida Climate Center and Center for Ocean-atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee, opened the 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Orlando with less than good news about likely weather patterns.

Weather tops list of cotton farmer issues 1
Weather, to no one’s surprise, topped the list of 2011 concerns for cotton consultants and their clients from Texas to North Carolina. And, based on regional reports during the annual Cotton Consultants Conference, weather issues included the gamut from record-setting drought, unrelenting heat, devastating floods, humidity and hail stones as big as lemons. The Consultants Conference is a kick-off for the annual National Cotton Council’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences, held this year in Orlando, Fla.
Shawn Hollady – 2012 Southwest High Cotton winner
Shawn Holladay would just as soon not experience another cotton growing season like the summer of 2011 — record heat, record drought, high winds and enough frustration to last a lifetime.
Ag can be profitable, with proper management
The assumption that there is no money to be made in agriculture simply doesn’t mesh with the facts. “Since 1995 the top 25 percent of farm managers earned more than 10 percent on their investments,” says David Kohl, professor emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech.
Depreciation: useful tool for farmers
Depreciation is a valuable tool for farmers and ranchers to use in limiting tax liabilities, but they should be cautious about over-using some options and also should determine the most advantageous time to take advantage of certain opportunities.
Land values, cash rents trending upward
The increase in agricultural receipts in recent years has pushed up land values across the country, but some areas have benefitted more than others.
Next farm bill - risk management priority
The process may be neither pretty nor predictable but the 2012 farm bill is coming together and will include changes that farmers and ranchers are more likely to choke down than swallow willingly.
Agriculture's coming opportunity
Agriculture may see more volatility over the next decade than it has in the past 30. That means more opportunity, says David M. Kohl, professor emeritus, agriculture and applied economics at Virginia Tech.
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